What Living In North Korea Is Like

Living in North Korea is unlike anywhere else in the world. It is a country shrouded in secrecy, where strict and oppressive regimes rule daily life for its citizens. Since the 1950s, the country has been ruled by a communist single-party system and this has created a nation where all aspects of life, including politics, religion, media, and information, are centrally controlled by the government. The outside world is almost kept from the people and the continued militarization of the country has further restricted travel and freedom of movement.

The people of North Korea suffer extreme poverty and lack of basic necessities such as food, healthcare and education. Approximately 60% of the population is malnourished and the infant mortality rate is almost double the world average. The average monthly salary of a North Korean citizen is around US$50, meaning it is extremely difficult to make ends meet in the totalitarian society.

North Korea has long been criticized by the international community for its systematic human rights violations, including its use of forced labor. Citizens are subject to arbitrary arrest and detention and torture at the hands of the government. Moreover, freedom of expression is severely curtailed and dissidents are punished harshly, with examples of public executions used to silence dissent.

Access to the internet is also heavily restricted, which serves to further disconnect the people from the outside world. Even those citizens with access to the internet are only allowed to access the state-approved websites. This means that people are kept in the dark about world news, views, and opinions outside the propagandized narrative of the North Korean government.

In spite of this oppressive environment, many North Koreans are still striving for a better life for themselves and their families. They have found innovative and creative ways to make money and provide for their families, such as growing their own food, participating in the black market, and manufacturing unauthorized products. This is despite the risks they take in doing so and the fact they can be arrested and punished by the authorities with little to no recourse.

Under the rule of Kim Jong Un, the human rights situation in North Korea has only become more oppressive and extreme. He has made it very clear that anyone who attempts to oppose him or his policies is to be punished harshly with little regard to civil liberties. This has created an atmosphere of fear, with citizens afraid to speak out or challenge the status quo.

Culture and Social Life

The culture and social life of North Koreans is quite different to that in the rest of the world. Due to the extreme poverty and lack of freedom, most people cannot afford to participate in leisure activities and the majority of them are too afraid to go out in public. This makes for a quieter and more subdued social atmosphere, with fewer opportunities for the citizens to express themselves and take part in the cultural and social activities that many others take for granted.

Moreover, due to the tightly controlled media, citizens are only exposed to the propaganda of the North Korean regime. This means they only ever get to see and hear what the authorities want them to, thus depriving them of the chance to have an open and free discussion about the issues and problems they face. Popular topics of conversation are often limited to topics such as sports, work and food.

In spite of this, the people of North Korea have maintained a strong sense of national identity, with patriotism and loyalty to the regime being key components of the society. Through its propaganda and media control, the regime has sought to promote a sense of national pride and unity among its citizens, while also painting a bleak picture of the outside world.


Living in North Korea is a difficult and oppressive experience for its citizens, who face extreme poverty and deprivation, limited freedom of expression, and government-controlled media. The harsh authoritarian rule of Kim Jong Un has only made the situation worse, and citizens face consequences if they dare to challenge or oppose the regime and its policies. Nevertheless, North Koreans continue to strive for a better life, despite the obstacles they face.

Cassie Grissom is an American journalist and author living in Seoul, South Korea. She has been studying the Korean peninsula since 2011, and her work focuses on understanding human rights issues in North Korea. In addition to her work as an author, Cassie is an active advocate for human rights in North Korea. She regularly shares stories about life in North Korea with international audiences to raise awareness of the plight of its citizens.

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